WUF11: Highlights and images of main proceedings for 30 June 2022

WUF11: Highlights and images of main proceedings for 30 June 2022

Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Develop

ment (IISD)

“You must start acting as soon as you return home!” Katowice’s Mayor Marcin Krupa added a sense of urgency to the discussions on the last day of WUF11 encouraging participants to use what they have learned to spark sustainable urban transformations in their home cities. The Forum’s final sessions provided ample opportunities to do so.

The Special Session on People-Centered and Green Technology and Innovation focused on how smart cities can generate inclusive change, with speakers underlining how local governments could use new international guidelines in the matter. The Dialogue on Greener Urban Futures addressed synergies between the urban and climate global agendas, and highlighted cities’ key role in meeting climate targets.

Trade Union and Workers Roundtable participants called for re-municipalizing services that have been privatized, including health care, highlighted core principles of just transition, and emphasized that unions should be “systematically” included in the UN-Habitat processes.

During the Dialogue on Transforming Cities Through Innovative Solutions and Technologies, panelists stressed the importance of: closing digital divides, including divides affecting people with disabilities; putting people, rather than technology first; establishing technology standards and ethical decision making; and aligning technology with cultural identities.

The Civil Society and Grassroots Organizations Roundtable featured speakers with long histories in community organization and grassroots work. They spoke of their experiences with the shrinking space for grassroots organizations, but highlighted WUF as an opportunity to reflect on what more can be done, including how to “kick open the doors” for others too. Themes of partnership, capacity building, co-creation, and action featured heavily among the discussions.

Closing group photo

Group photo following the closing of WUF11

At the closing ceremony, Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak, Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, Poland, highlighted that WUF11 was hosted in ways that align with sustainable urban development goals, including unprecedented accessibility for people with disabilities. She said that WUF11 enables “bold steps,” not just planning, for sustainable urban futures. UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif noted the COVID-19 pandemic proved our capacity for short-term radical change, but warned we need to develop our ability to deliver long-term and sustainable change. She listed the effects of crises on our urban environments, including the need to mitigate their impacts and build collaboratively for a sustainable future. Congratulating Egypt on being chosen as the host of WUF12, she noted the need to invest “clearly and immediately” to implement the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and achieve the 169 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during “the 2,742 days” we have left to do so.

Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice, highlighted the significance of WUF11 for the city of Katowice. Nuno Gomes Nabiam, Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, noted the need to transfer technology and know-how to regions most vulnerable to climate change, such as his country, including in the field of urban resilience. Collen Vixen Kelapile, Un Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), highlighted core themes, including: people-centered policies that meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations; coordination across stakeholders and levels of government; and the role of women in meeting sustainable urbanization goals.

Signing ceremony

Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development, Egypt, and Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, sign the WUF12 agreement.

Martha Delgado, President of the UN-Habitat Assembly, presented the WUF11 DeclarACTION, which, inter alia:

  • calls for more international collective actions to support implementation of the NUA as a roadmap for accelerating sustainable development, climate action, and building peace;
  • states a concern for the lack of progress toward the SDGs;
  • urges moving from incrementalism towards fundamental shifts in urban environments;
  • stresses the need to focus on increasingly imminent urban crises;
  • affirms culture as an integral part of meeting urban challenges; and
  • highlights accessibility and universal design as part of transformative action.

Two Polish youth then thanked WUF organizers for championing accessibility and the involvement of young people, and called for these elements to remain focal points in urban development.

In a handover ceremony, Jarosińska-Jedynak passed the WUF baton to Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development, Egypt. Shaarawy said he hoped to welcome participants in Sharm-el-Sheikh for the UN Climate Change Conference and in Cairo for WUF12, noting the latter would be the first since WUF1 to take place in an African city. Mohd Sharif declared WUF11 closed at 18:18, after which Shaarawy and Mohd Sharif signed the WUF12 agreement.

Dancers perform at the end of the closing ceremony

Dancers perform at the end of the closing ceremony.

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Photos by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera

World Cities Summit 2022 - Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Emerging Stronger

World Cities Summit 2022 - Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Emerging Stronger (31 July - 3 August)

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How do cities remain liveable, sustainable, and more resilient in these trying, unsettling times of pandemic and climate change?

WCS 2022 seeks to address this with its theme of Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Emerging Stronger. The Summit is a convening point for global mayors, business leaders and knowledge experts to exchange and co-create city solutions for liveable and sustainable cities, and will engage cities, businesses and experts at the highest levels to discuss how cities can emerge stronger through prolonged and unpredictable disruptions. 

This 8th edition of WCS will be an in-person conference. The 4-day event will comprise the main conference, which includes plenaries and tracks, and other key events such as the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Lecture & Forum, Award Ceremony and Banquet, WCS Mayors Forum, WCS Young Leaders Symposium, and an expo. 

This year, the Summit will also see the inaugural in-person WCS Smart Cities Workshop, following the success of the virtual edition in 2021. WCS sessions, networking, physically co-located events and partner events will also take place at the Summit, organised by partners and sponsors.

Through the plenaries and tracks of the main conference, delegates will engage with the theme on how cities can emerge stronger from contemporary disruptions across five tracks: Sustainable Financing, Smart Cities, Development and Planning, Urban Resilience and Liveable Future Cities. 

Register and learn more about World Cities Summit 2022 here:

For more details, please read the conference Concept Note here.




Centre for Liveable Cities

Set up in 2008 by the Ministry of National Development and the then-Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) aims to distil, create and share knowledge on liveable and sustainable cities. 

The CLC’s work spans four main areas: Research, Capability Development, Knowledge Platforms, and Advisory. Through these activities, it hopes to provide urban leaders and practitioners with the knowledge and support needed to make our cities better.

For more information, please visit


Urban Redevelopment Authority

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is Singapore's land use planning and conservation agency. Our mission is ‘to make Singapore a great city to live, work and play’. We strive to create an endearing home and a vibrant and sustainable city through long-term planning and innovation, in partnership with the community.

URA’s multi-faceted role includes being the main government land sales agent. We attract and channel private capital investments to develop sites that support planning, economic and social objectives. We also partner the community to enliven our public spaces to create a car-lite, people-friendly and liveable city for all to enjoy. In shaping a distinctive city, URA also promotes architecture and urban design excellence. Visit for more information.

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2022

The 2022 HLPF will hold in-depth reviews of five SDGs: 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land), and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). 

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2022

5-15 JULY 2022 | New York City, US

The meeting of the HLPF in 2022 will be held from Tuesday, 5 July, to Thursday, 7 July, and from Monday, 11 July, to Friday, 15 July 2022 , under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. This includes the three-day ministerial segment of the forum from Wednesday, 13 July, to Friday, 15 July 2022. The high-level segment of the Council will conclude with a final day on Monday, 18 July 2022.

The theme for the 2022 HLPF is “ Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ”.

As the world is struggling to recover from COVID-19 amidst continuing crises, the HLPF will reflect on how recovery policies can reverse the negative impacts of the pandemic on the SDGs and move countries on to a path to realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda.

The HLPF will also review in-depth Sustainable Development Goals 4 on quality education, 5 on gender equality, 14 on life below water, 15 on life on land, and 17 on partnerships for the Goals. It will take into account the different impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across all Sustainable Development Goals and the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the Goals.

44 countries will carry out voluntary national reviews (VNRs) of their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development . For more details, please click here.

The HLPF will adopt the Ministerial Declaration as the outcome of its session. The President of ECOSOC will also prepare a summary to capture the key messages of the discussions. For more information, click here

Other events, including Side EventsVNR LabsSpecial Events, and Exhibition are being organized on the margins of the 2022 HLPF.

Learn more here:

Supply Products for 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy

In the second webinar of a WRI-hosted series on 24/7 Carbon Free Energy, experts will tackle these questions and more. The webinar will also feature overviews from representatives of electric utilities AES Corporation and Georgia Power about their emerging 24/7 CFE supply products, as well as a customer-side perspective on 24/7 CFE deals from Iron Mountain, a global storage and information management services company that has committed to matching its hourly energy use with renewable power. After opening presentations from panelists, Lori Bird (Director, US Energy, WRI) will moderate a discussion exploring the questions outlined above. There will also be time for audience Q&A at the end.

Supply Products for 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy

 -  Online Webinar by World Resources Institute (WRI) | Register here

Many forward-looking cities, companies and institutions have begun to pursue 24/7 carbon-free energy (CFE). As momentum builds, new 24/7 CFE supply offerings have emerged. But what do these 24/7 CFE supply products look like? How do they work? How were they developed? And how much demand is there for them?

For more information or to view a recording of WRI’s first webinar in this series, “An Introduction to 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy and Hourly Matching,” click here.


  • Neeraj Bhat, Chief Product Officer, Clean Energy, AES Corporation
  • Tray Leslie, Renewable Development Manager, Customer Engagement, Georgia Power
  • Chris Pennington, Director, Energy and Sustainability, Iron Mountain
  • Lori Bird, US Energy Director, World Resources Institute (Moderator)

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How Communities and Cities Can Inventory GHG Emissions and Removals from Forests and Trees

How Communities and Cities Can Inventory GHG Emissions and Removals from Forests and Trees

 -  | Online | Register here

Despite international enthusiasm for nature-based climate solutions, many local greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories have not included forests and trees due to lack of guidance and complexity around incorporating them. Yet actions taken by local communities will be key to meeting the ambitious climate action targets set by communities, national governments and international agreements. As communities ramp up forest- and tree-based mitigation, they will need to measure how their forests and trees have already contributed to their carbon balance sheet.

This webinar, organized by World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities, and ICLEI presents a new globally standardized, flexible methodology to estimate GHG greenhouse gas emissions and carbon removals (sequestration) by forests and trees for cities and communities worldwide, building on the updated Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC). Speakers will outline the methods covered in the new guidance: “Supplemental Guidance for Forests and Trees”. They will also showcase how cities and communities report their results and how to include them in their emissions reduction targets. They will also discuss how communities have already inventoried GHG emissions and removals by forests and trees for more holistic climate action planning by outlining how some communities have already used these methods. This will be followed by a panel discussion featuring diverse perspectives and experiences from cities that have user tested the guidance, city climate action planners, and institutional partners, and a live audience Q&A session.


  • John-Rob Pool, Implementation Manager, Cities4Forests, WRI (Moderator)
  • Pankaj Bhatia, Acting Director, Climate, WRI and Global Director, GHG Protocol
  • David Gibbs, GIS Research Associate, Global Forest Watch, WRI
  • Nancy Harris, Research Director, Land & Carbon Lab, Forests Program, WRI 

Retrieved from

World Cities Report 2022: Envisaging the Future of Cities
World Cities Report 2022: Envisaging the Future of Cities seeks to provide greater clarity and insights into the future of cities based on existing trends, challenges and opportunities, as well as disruptive conditions, including the valuable lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, and suggest ways that cities can be better prepared to address a wide range of shocks and transition to sustainable urban futures. 

World Cities Report 2022: Envisaging the Future of Cities

Published by UN-Habitat

World Cities Report 2022: Envisaging the Future of Cities seeks to provide greater clarity and insights into the future of cities based on existing trends, challenges and opportunities, as well as disruptive conditions, including the valuable lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, and suggest ways that cities can be better prepared to address a wide range of shocks and transition to sustainable urban futures. The Report proposes a state of informed preparedness that provides us with the opportunity to anticipate change, correct the course of action and become more knowledgeable of the different scenarios or possibilities that the future of cities offers.

Chapter 1: The Diversity and Vision for the Future of Cities

While the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the two years between editions of the World Cities Report and upended many aspects of urban life, this Report comes at a time when world events create ever more dynamic environments for urban actors. Although of the world has lifted the public health restrictions and border closures that made COVID-19 such a dominant aspect of urban life, the virus continues to flare up periodically and some countries still have strict measures in place. Recently, the world has witnessed a sudden global spike in inflation and cost of living, alongside supply chain disruptions, which is severely affecting the recovery of urban economies. New and persistent armed conflicts have altered the geopolitical order and contributed to global economic uncertainty.

Read more

Chapter 2: Scenarios of Urban Futures: Degree of Urbanization

A new harmonized definition, called the Degree of Urbanization, facilitates international comparisons of urbanization. By defining three main classes of human settlements (cities, towns and semi-dense areas, and rural areas), the Degree of Urbanization captures the urban-rural continuum as recommended by research. It provides a pathway to overcoming the fundamental challenge linked to monitoring urban trends and the development agendas that has lingered over the years: the lack of a unified definition of what constitutes “urban” and its precise measurement.

This chapter provides a unique perspective on future trends using Degree of Urbanization and data emanating from this new harmonized approach. Specifically, it provides scenarios that allow us to understand the anticipated demographic and spatial changes across the urban-rural continuum in various regions as well as their drivers.

Read more

Chapter 3: Poverty and Inequality: Enduring Features of an Urban Future?

Cities generate wealth but also concentrate poverty and inequality. From the overcrowded slums in the developing world to homelessness and pockets of destitution in the developed world, urban poverty and inequality take many forms. We cannot envision a bright future for cities when inequality appears to be on the rise globally and poverty in certain regions. How to tackle poverty and inequality are among the most pressing challenges facing urban areas; and improving income and a wide range of opportunities for all is essential to achieving an optimistic urban future. The global development agenda gives prime of place to the issue, with SDG 1, which calls for a world in which we “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.” If urban poverty is not addressed, then this goal will remain elusive.

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Chapter 4: Resilient Urban Economies: A Catalyst for Productive Futures

The urban economy is integral to the future of cities. Given the size of the contribution of cities to the national economy, the future of many countries will be determined by the productivity of its urban areas. People first gathered in denser human settlements for the purpose of trading at markets, and this fundamental aspect of urban life has evolved over time. Today’s urban economies are complex systems tied to global trade and capital flows, in which foreign entities can own the property next door and distant events can affect the prices for local goods. Cities must be smarter than ever about how they position their economies for the maximum benefit of all residents while also safeguarding the environment and improving their city’s quality of life.

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Chapter 5: Securing a Greener Urban Future

Climate change and environmental concerns increasingly dominate future scenarios. The increase in extreme weather events and natural disasters like flooding, heatwaves and landslides will impact urban areas the hardest, which makes climate change adaptation a paramount concern. Meanwhile, urban areas are responsible for a majority of the world’s carbon emissions. As such, the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions must occur as soon as feasibly possible. Cities can do their part by embracing a wide range of options.

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Chapter 6: Urban Planning for the Future of Cities

Cities are complex systems that grow, develop and even shrink based on a variety of forces. Planning is an essential tool for shaping the future of cities, as unplanned human settlements are prone to sprawl, inefficient land use, poor connectivity and a lack of adequate municipal services. Good urban planning is one of the three pillars of sustainable cities, without which cities are unlikely to achieve the optimistic scenario of urban futures.

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Chapter 7: Public Health and Sustainable Urban Futures

As history attests, the resilience and scalability of cities is undergirded by effective public health. Beyond hospitals, medicines and vaccines, equitable provision of health-promoting infrastructure such as green spaces, improved housing, clean and safe drinking water, and extensive sewer systems to safely dispose of human waste are necessary minimum components for securing public health in urban areas. While COVID-19 led to the first major global pandemic in a century, the future portends more epidemics and pandemics. Public health is now once again at the forefront in envisioning the future of cities.

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Chapter 8: Rethinking Urban Governance for the Future of Cities

Whichever future urban challenge cities face, whether it is poverty, health, housing or the environment, urban governance always has a critical enabling role to ensure that the capacities and resources of institutions and people match their responsibilities and desires. Sustainable urban development is not possible without effective multilevel urban governance – including local governments, civil society and national governments. Governments have been severely tested since 2020, which means now is the time to rethink urban governance and put cities on the path to an optimistic future scenario.

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Chapter 9: Innovation and Technology: Towards Knowledge-Based Urban Futures

Advances in technology and urban futures are inextricably linked. The future of cities will be knowledge-based, driven largely by innovation and the widespread use of new technologies and digitization of virtually all facets of urban life. Technological innovations define the twenty-first century. Cities are going through a wave of digitalization that is reshaping how urban dwellers live, work, learn and play. Technology holds great promise for improving urban livelihoods, but there are also risks that smart city technology will invade privacy. Cities, meanwhile, are competing for innovation-based businesses in a race that will create both winners and losers in urban futures.

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Chapter 10: Building Resilience for Sustainable Urban Futures

Any scenario of urban futures outlined in this Report will face unexpected shocks and stresses. Will a given city collapse like a house of cards or withstand whatever unpredictable future comes their way? The answer to that question lies in a city's resilience, a capacity that bookends all of the discussion up to this point. A key message running through this Report is that building economic, social and environmental resilience, including appropriate governance and institutional structures must be at the heart of the future of cities. Cities that are well-planned, managed, and financed have a strong foundation to prepare for such unknown future threats. Moreover, cities that are socially inclusive and work for all their residents are also better positioned to face environmental, public health, economic, social and any other variety of shock or stress, as cities are only as strong as their weakest link.

Read more

Read the Key Findings and Messages for each chapter here:

Access the full report here:

WUF11: Highlights and images of main proceedings for 29 June 2022

Best practices in urban infrastructure, planning, and financing were at the forefront of discussions on WUF11’s second last day. The day featured the launch of the World Cities Report 2022 whose theme, “Envisaging the Future of Cities,” connects planning with “different scenarios of urban futures.”

11th Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF11)

Highlights and images of main proceedings for 29 June 2022

Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Street WUF11 sign

A WUF11 sign in the streets of Katowice

In the morning, the Dialogue on Future Urban Economy and Finance highlighted the need for coordinated investment and the potential of urbanization as an economic development vehicle, noting, among other approaches, housing construction as a pathway out of poverty. Speakers in the Dialogue on Integrated Governance in Spatial Planning for a More Just, Green, and Healthy Urban Future spoke about coordination in the housing sector; pathways to address imbalances in the global food system; and the need to understand how segments of a city’s population use city infrastructure differently.

To dive deeper, read the full Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

Six roundtables took place in the afternoon. The Women’s Roundtable brought together women from civil society and the public and private sectors to exchange success stories from their respective contexts. Speakers called for the continued advancement of the women’s agenda, highlighting the persistent threat of moving backwards. The Academia Roundtable underlined the need for interdisciplinary urban planning research and for the academic sector to work alongside practitioners. The Children and Youth Roundtable was split into three segments—one intergenerational, one youth-led, and one practitioners-led—that each tackled the need to increase meaningful youth participation from different perspectives.

ONE UN Roundtable

Participants during the intervention from Collen Vixen Kelapile, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President, at the One UN Roundtable

The Roundtable on Foundations and Philanthropy considered the values that are driving grant-making reform and how foundations can provide effective support in complex urban environments. One UN Roundtable participants emphasized the importance of coordination across agencies and the development of joint programmes, with participation, inclusivity, and people-centered approaches seen as key to sustainable urbanization. Finally, the Professionals Roundtable discussed the roles and responsibilities of professionals to accelerate the SDGs and incorporate them into their services. It highlighted the role of the Habitat Professionals Forum to strengthen relationships between private and public partners.

The afternoon also featured four special sessions. In the Special Session on Post COVID-19 Recovery, panelists emphasized the need for global solidarity and unity, calling for a human rights-based approach to development and social protection systems to mitigate the impacts of future crises. In the Special Session on Shaping Equitable Futures Through Mission-Oriented Development, local governments shared innovative urban projects that improve citizens’ wellbeing, including Bogotá’s “care system” approach to addressing “time poverty” experienced by women. The Special Session on Localizing the SDGs discussed how national frameworks, funding, and engagement of all stakeholders must come together to enable cities to co-create and implement solutions. Finally, the Special Session on Prerequisites for Productive Investment in Infrastructure and Sustainable Urban Development expanded on challenges facing productive investments, including: the rate of urbanization and the inability for complex projects to be financed in a timely manner; the disconnect between local, regional, and national governments; limited capacity of local governments; channeling investments towards green and social projects; and private-sector confidence in emerging economies. The day concluded with a concert by artist and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal in the Youth Village.

Access the full bulletin of 29 June 2022 at WUF11 here or download the attached PDF of the document.

Retrieved from

WUF11: Report of main proceedings for 29 June 2022

Best practices in urban infrastructure, planning, and financing were at the forefront of discussions on WUF11’s second last day. In the morning, two Dialogues focused on, respectively, Future Urban Economy and Finance and Integrated Governance in Spatial Planning. The afternoon featured four Special Sessions on themes such as Prerequisites for Productive Investment in Infrastructure and six Roundtables.

11th Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF11)

Report of main proceedings for 29 June 2022

Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)


Future Urban Economy and Finance: Majeta Jager, EU Commission, described the link between urbanization and structural transformation, noting the urgent need for infrastructure investments. In the first panel on the potential of urbanization as an economic development vehicle, speakers highlighted: connections between trade, industry, and urban priorities; housing construction as a pathway out of poverty; and the reconstruction of liberated territories under a “green economic zones” concept.

Responding to questions on climate action and green building materials, panelists discussed the need to: improve local governments’ capacities to mobilize funding and develop green industries; invest in both tangible and intangible infrastructure; and include the informal economy.

In the second panel on investment coordination, speakers described: the importance of closing the loop between local investments and capturing returns through fiscal mechanisms; the need to build capacities of diverse local governments; and lessons learned from a financing initiative in Cabo Verde that includes social community bonds.

Responding to questions, speakers highlighted: how national governments can support local governments’ access to financing, including securing debt; the need to consider broader economic impacts of urban development investment; and the importance of bringing diverse decision-makers to the table to solve our cross-cutting urban challenges.

Integrated Governance in Spatial Planning for a More Just, Green, and Healthy Urban Future: Keynote speaker Collen Vixen Kelapile, ECOSOC President, highlighted the release of the World Cities Report 2022, which invites cities to: acknowledge the poorest residents as “true urban partners”; enhance coordination through effective governance; and plan for sustainable urban growth.

Marylin Pintor highlighted how her new agency, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, the Philippines, coordinates across agencies to address the fragmentation of the housing sector and promote civil society voices in planning. Ana Marina Ramos Jiménez, National Institute of Territorial Planning and Urbanism, Cuba, said her country drew on the New Urban Agenda (NUA) to align housing policies and land use with the 2030 Agenda.

Marcela Villareal, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said transparent and participatory local governance is essential to address malnutrition and food waste in cities, noting FAO’s willingness to support cities to integrate food systems into their agenda. Sertac Erten, Arup, said that to improve urban infrastructure, it is necessary to understand how segments of a city’s population, such as nightshift workers, use it differently.

Bachir Kanoute, International Observatory for Participatory Democracy, underscored the absence of citizens in urban planning, suggesting that trust and solidarity are essential for encouraging participation. In an ensuing discussion, panelists emphasized: connecting housing development to the provision of basic services; gender-based perspectives on policymaking; and democratizing specialist knowledge so it is understandable by all.

Special Sessions

Localizing the SDGs: Anna-Leena Seppälä, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Finland, described Finland’s multi-level approach to enabling SDG localization and co-creation. Emilia Sáiz, Secretary-General, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), observed an increase in political will to drive localization, understanding of SDGs, and local service provision.

In a first panel on planning for the SDGs, speakers highlighted the need for, inter alia: technical support and financial resources to implement local SDG priorities; collaboration across all sectors and levels of government; and a whole-of-society, all-of-government approach. In a second panel focusing on partnerships and financing, speakers highlighted:

  • How the COVID-19 pandemic became a catalyst for action in Saint Lucia;
  • How multiple types of engagement processes initiated a citizen-led articulation of a 2030 vision for Mannheim, Germany; and
  • That youth engagement must be institutionalized to tap into their capacity for communication and co-creation.

Participants also discussed new localization initiatives, including UN-Habitat’s Local 2030 Coalition and the G20 Platform on SDGs Localisation and Intermediary Cities.

Prerequisites for Productive Investment in Infrastructure and Sustainable Urban Development: Keynote speaker Paulius Kulikauskas, UN-Habitat, stated that even if all the capital necessary for projects was available, revenue is required to support operations and maintain investments. This revenue is difficult to capture through inefficient taxation and a consumer base unable to pay for services. Panelists expanded on challenges facing productive investments, citing: the rate of urbanization and the inability for complex projects to be financed in a timely manner; the disconnect between local, regional, and national governments; limited capacity of local governments; channeling investments towards green and social projects; and private sector confidence in emerging economies as key issues.

To increase the productivity of investments, panelists suggested: a shift away from ideological investment toward context-specific development; strengthening the financial capacity of local governments; and implementing pilot projects to demonstrate market opportunities to the private sector.

Shaping Equitable Urban Futures:  In this session, local government officials shared experiences with innovative projects, including systems and partnerships that improve the well-being of women and provide affordable housing. Diana Rodriguez, Secretary for Women’s Affairs, Bogotá, described the city’s establishment of a care system that addresses women’s “time poverty.” By creating infrastructures linking basic services in close physical proximity, the city has enabled women to have more time for their own education and care.

Javier Burón, Housing Manager, Barcelona, detailed the city’s approach to establishing affordable housing through public, private, and community collaborations. Lessons include the importance of continuity in financial and political support and the value of using a human rights-based approach to holding governments accountable. Rodriguez also emphasized “flexibility as a criterion for designing and redesigning the urban space” in uncertain times.

Accelerating Post Covid-19 Recovery, Social Inclusion, and Urban Inequality Reduction in Communities: Major themes for accelerating recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic included a strong emphasis on solidarity and unity among all actors. Stakeholders identified included: all levels of government; local grassroots organizations; individuals; and the international community. Several panelists highlighted the need to fully implement and institutionalize a human rights-based approach to development and social protection systems to mitigate the impacts of future crises. Accessibility, equity, and our collective responsibility for one another were also raised as important considerations in the recovery and development processes.

The panel concluded with Vixen Kelapile calling for countries presenting their Voluntary National Reviews at the upcoming High-level Political Forum to highlight how they have strengthened their social protection systems in response to COVID-19.


One UN Roundtable: Participants voiced support for improving coordination across agencies and developing joint programmes to achieve sustainable urbanization. Inclusivity and participation emerged as key themes. Vixen Kelapile noted that 70% of the next generation will live in cities and urged that “as we look at the NUA, we look at the issue of inequalities.” Celstine Ketcha Courtès, Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Cameroon, emphasized the need to include residents alongside public authorities and private-sector partners in urban planning and development: “You can’t treat your patient if you don’t know where the pain is.”

Violet Shivutse, Huariou Commision, urged treating grassroots constituencies as partners. UN resident coordinators cited promising approaches to sustainable urbanization, including: territorial approaches that create synergies; private-sector partnerships; and people-centered perspectives on reducing inequalities. Core challenges include: mobilizing finance; disaggregating data; and responding to environmental crises and population displacements.

Women’s Roundtable: Featuring women from civil society and the public and private sectors, presenters highlighted success stories from their respective contexts. Underlining the importance of solidarity, they called for continued advancement of the women’s agenda, highlighting the persistent threat of moving backwards. As leaders in their communities, participants spoke of their experiences introducing gender-responsive services to support women and communities on themes of:

  • Family, including supporting parents and especially mothers by providing care for young children;
  • Health, by providing cancer screening capacity to underserved areas;
  • Safety, including how to design cities with quality housing and public spaces;
  • Education, by providing women and girls with necessary competencies and skills needed to succeed;
  • Politics, and how to get involved in local legal systems to uplift gender-based development principles; and
  • Finance, including how to spend, save, and participate in economic systems.

Academia Roundtable: In the first panel on innovation in research, Robert Pyka, University of Katowice, pointed to cooperation between universities and municipalities in the Katowice area. Anna Hurlimann, University of Melbourne, said what facilitates climate adaptation in Australia’s built environment varies across sectors. Montaser Hiyari, Applied Science University, described the development of service provision benchmarks at various governance levels. Peter Elias, University of Lagos, called for participatory research methods to assess SDG implementation. Antonella Contin, Politecnico di Milano, described a cartographic tool for metropolitan decision-making. Héctor García Curiel, University of Guadalajara, said culture and education can transform urban life.

In the second panel on innovation and education, Svafa Grönfeldt, Massachusetts Institute for Technology, said design innovation was “a connector” between science and user needs. Hassan Yakubu, Mohammed VI University, outlined digital divides in education across three African cities. Mennatullah Hendawy, Cairo Urban AI, called for increased interdisciplinarity in urban planning. Rita Padawangi, Singapore University of Social Sciences, presented an interdisciplinary Southeast Asian network to re-conceptualize cities. Enrique Silva, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, said professional development courses support practitioners in fiscally managing cities.

Professionals Roundtable: Panelists discussed the roles and responsibilities of professionals in accelerating the SDGs and incorporating them into their services. Rafael Tuts, UN-Habitat, called interprofessional knowledge exchanges key to sustainable urbanization, while also highlighting the role of the Habitat Professionals Forum (HPF) to strengthen relationships between private and public partners. A representative of the HPF shared a presentation on their recently released framework for development professions to advance the NUA, entitled The HPF 2022 Roadmap Recovery. Acknowledging the report, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, UCLG Africa, questioned the universal applicability of such documents, citing Africa’s 7% annual urbanization rate as a situation unique to the rest of the world. Noraida Saludin, Malaysia Planning Institute, emphasized the need for capacity building across all sectors to achieve the SDGs. The roundtable then broke into working groups to discuss themes relating to: accelerating the SDGs, building local partnerships, ethics and capacity building, and crises and reconstruction.

Foundations and Philanthropies Roundtable: Moderator Stefan Germann, CEO, Fondation Botnar, noted that, contrary to the public sector, foundations can invest in the “upside of risk,” and explore new approaches to impact. Author Gemma Bull described values of grant making, including humility, equity, evidence, service, and diligence, that are driving reform in many foundations. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, reiterated that closing the funding gap is essential to accelerate SDG implementation.

Panelists presented foundations’ experiences in supporting housing development, and discussed, among other issues:

  • The challenges of providing support in complex systems of urban development;
  • The need for data to better understand the needs for and impacts of sustainable housing supported by foundations; and
  • The tension between supporting bottom-up, co-created solutions and the need to scale successful models.

Participants then discussed:

  • How young organizations can build relationships with foundations;
  • Whether democratizing grant-making decisions will increase effectiveness; and
  • How foundations can become more effective through collaboration and reduced reporting burdens.

Children and Youth Roundtable: Mohd Sharif said children and youth are the motors of change. Via video, the First Lady of Serbia, Tamara Vucic, called for more exchanges of knowledge about early childhood.

In a first intergenerational panel, speakers noted: best practices in the establishment of youth councils; that youth do not need to be taught but rather equipped with data and knowledge; the lack of attention to climate disasters affecting youth in the global South; and the need to keep governments accountable.

A second panel of youth leaders debated the need to: train youth leaders to take climate action; help localize the SDGs by co-creating public spaces with youth; and address the unique set of mental health issues youth face. Representatives of Polish and Ukrainian youth councils reflected on how local governments can improve youth engagement in cities. A third panel comprised of practitioners discussed youth-led work on localizing the SDGs and the need to replace the tokenization of youth with meaningful engagement in areas in which they have high stakes, such as environmental stewardship.

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IISD’s Summary: The IISD summary report of WUF11 will be available on Sunday, 3 July 2022 at:

WUF11: Report of main proceedings for 28 June 2022

Eleventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF11)

Report of main proceedings for 28 June 2022

by the

.org/">International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

On the third day of WUF, equity and affordable housing emerged across cutting issues in many sessions as participants gathered to discuss the challenges of creating equitable and resilient cities that are accessible for all. Roundtables of parliamentarians and ministers met in the afternoon to discuss their role in implementing the New Urban Agenda and take stock of implementation to date.


Equitable Urban Futures: Moderator Lara Kinneir, London Interdisciplinary School, introduced the session’s first panel on the scale of equity. Naoko Yamamoto, World Health Organization, highlighted national-level policies to support local innovation and crisis responses.

Paweł Wdówik, Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Poland, reminded participants that urban solutions, such as new modes of transportation, must be inclusive for people with disabilities. Renu Khosla, Director, Center of Urban and Regional Excellence, said urban inequalities must be tackled quickly before they become intergenerational and harder to address. Fabrice Menya Me Noah, Fonds Spécial d’Équipement et d’Intervetion Intercommunale (FEICOM), underlined partnerships with beneficiaries as participatory urban development.

In a second panel on local governments and civil society achieving equity, Jan Olbrycht, European Parliament, focused on collaborative partnerships between all levels of government. Elcio Batista, City of Fortaleza, noted that even in non-democratic national environments, local governments can make structural advances on issues of equity. Marc Workman, CEO, World Blind Union, said 15% of urban dwellers experience disabilities, citing participatory planning among the best practices to respond to their needs.

Chioma Agwuegbo, Executive Director, TechHerNG, spoke on educating women and girls in Nigeria on technology uses from the lenses of gender and security.

Building Resilience for Sustainable Urban Futures: Moderator Krystyna Schreiber, Government of Catalonia, said resilient cities not only withstand adversity, but challenge underlining conditions. Daniel Wąsik, Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, Poland, stated resilience creates the basis for long-term success. Mami Mizutori, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), called for immediate action to build urban resilience before the opportunity passes.

In a first panel on localizing resilience strategies, Noraini Roslan, Mayor of Subang Jaya, prioritized aligning of strategies when building for resiliency. Sergio López, Medellín, Colombia, highlighted new green spaces, transportation systems, education programmes, and efforts to end violence. Maria Galino, Director of Urban Agenda, detailed a “territorial perspective” that uses digital tools to help bring balance, prosperity, and equity to the region’s urban and rural areas.

Mohammed Ikbel Khaled, Mayor of Sousse, outlined challenges resulting from social change, economic crisis, sea-level rise, and migration. Vera Revina Sari, Government of Jakarta, said the city is using lessons learned during the COVID-pandemic to reduce environmental impact and build an adaptive, digital, fun, and sustainable city.

In the second panel on Policy Directions for Innovative Urban Solutions, speakers linked resilience and integration through regional coordination across borders, systems promoting solidarity, and non-linear, multi-level approaches. “Resilience is a real opportunity to integrate” and build capacities for development, said Walter Cotte, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. Ian McKinnon, Global Disability Innovation Hub, added it is imperative to take all citizens into account so that solutions for resilience include persons with disabilities.


Parliamentarians Roundtable: Moderator Siraj Sait, Stakeholder Advisory Group Enterprise, invited recommendations on enhancing parliamentarians’ role in sustainable urbanization. Rafael Tuts, UN-Habitat, encouraged discussions on collaboration with the executive branch and stakeholders.

Hanna Gill-Piątek, Poland, emphasized awareness raising and exchange of expertise between parliamentarians and citizens. Keynote speaker Peter Anyang Nyo’ngo, Governor of Kisumu County, highlighted parliamentarian leadership, urban policy development, spatial and urban planning, and urban finance.

Sahar Attia, Egypt, said parliamentarians should monitor and report on alignment of national urban policies with the New Urban Agenda (NUA). Ganga Lal Tuladhar, Nepal, highlighted parliamentarians’ role in supporting low carbon investments and managing disaster risk reduction.

Camila Crescimbeni, Argentina, urged educating youth and decision-makers on the SDGs and the NUA, and including the private sector for greater social, economic, and environmental productivity. Daniel Uwadia Osayimwense, Nigeria, stressed rural development to reduce migration.

Summarizing the discussion, Attia highlighted, among other issues, the need to facilitate legislation for NUA implementation and inclusion of urban issues in parliamentary agendas.

Older Persons Roundtable: Panelists discussed age-friendly cities from the perspective of both built and virtual environments. They underlined the importance of accessible public spaces to promote dignity, autonomy, and ultimately human rights. Recommendations included participatory design processes to account for aging. Other important aspects included: the intersection of age and gender; the safety of older people; and the need for social connection. Finally, the discussion highlighted a gap in frameworks on the human rights of older people and called for a societal shift in mentality around aging. Rio Hada, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated “ageism is the root of age-based inequality.”

Ministerial Roundtable: Moderated by Achie Ojany Alai, Kisumu, Kenya, the roundtable included 25 presentations by ministers or ministerial staff. ECOSOC President Collen Vixen Kelapile outlined collaboration efforts with the UN Secretariat to increase momentum for NUA implementation. Mohd Sharif asked ministers to focus on: NUA implementation in SDG achievement; housing and social security; climate change; urban displacement; and finance.

Many ministers outlined national efforts to implement the NUA, including policy frameworks, programs, and action plans, voluntary NUA reports, and mechanisms for stakeholder engagement and collaboration.

Ministers agreed that affordable and sustainable housing is not only key to many dimensions of sustainable urbanization, including social security, safety, and health, but also a fundamental question of human dignity. Several highlighted the need to meet rapidly growing demand for housing which has accelerated due to recent crises.

Regarding urban displacement, several ministers drew the link between rural development and migration, stressing that people everywhere must have access to basic services and safe housing. One minister reported on progress in rebuilding liberated territories to enable the return of internally displaced persons.

On climate change, participants showcased projects to increase green spaces and planting trees alongside efforts to support public transport in reducing emissions.

Several ministers discussed finance with approaches ranging from direct funding to incentivizing private sector investment, with some stating that housing must be integrated with economic development to ensure that new residents can find jobs.

Mohd Sharif lauded the efforts undertaken and appealed to ministers to “implement what you say you will implement, because our children are watching us.”

Persons with Disability Roundtable: Paweł Wdówik, Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Poland, highlighted city dwellers and persons with disabilities are not homogenous groups. Via video message, Victor Piñeda, President, World Enabled, said 25% of those living in cities experience barriers based on disabilities or age.

In a first panel on stocktaking, speakers discussed the importance of: accessibility legislation and standards; genuine engagement of people with disabilities; and universal design in promoting equity. Several commented on the connection between mental health and urban design, with one speaker calling for cities to make services accessible for people with psychosocial disabilities instead of creating separate institutions. In a second panel on “building back better together,” speakers noted the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected people with disabilities and called for: the collection of disaggregated data to shape social policies; industries to build inclusive tech solutions; and tailored employment opportunities to reduce barriers to access the labor market. Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak, Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, Poland, described progress made under the “Accessibility Plus” programme in Poland.

Special Sessions

Rebuilding Communities and Neighborhoods After War and Natural Disasters: This session emphasized people-centered approaches and heard from Ukrainian leaders, who stressed their commitment to rebuild their cities and country.

Speaking on video, Ihor Terekhov, mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine, said that despite devastation to his city, “Kharkiv is still alive” and is working in partnership with the UN to spur redevelopment after the war. Rebuilding will emphasize green policies, accessibility, and new investment flows.

Other participants emphasized the value of grassroots efforts to connect Ukrainian refugees with their in-country hosts and the need for education and mental health services. Participants also said it is imperative to secure comfortable housing for refugees before the winter. Response efforts in Ukraine and beyond also need to build back jobs, green infrastructure, and physical and social capital to improve conditions for refugees to return to their countries.

National Urban Forums – Strategic Platforms for Implementing the SDGs and The New Urban Agenda: Participants shared experiences on the opportunities and challenges in hosting National Urban Forums (NUFs). Among the benefits shared were:

  • The opportunity to bring a variety of stakeholders, including local governments, business, and private sector to the table for discussion, and
  • The chance to allow for meaningful participatory decision making and the co-design of urban policies

However, panelists also noted the limitations of NUFs, citing:

  • Challenges to react quickly to unforeseen crises, including intake of refugees from Ukraine, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  • The financial costs associated with hosting large scale events.

As next steps, the panel discussed their aspirational visions for NUFs, including:

  • The possibility of a global NUF alliance to share experiences across cities, and
  • The creation of Local Urban Forums to support decision making at the local level.

Delivering Affordable Housing Across Countries: Moderator Charles Hinga, State Department for Housing and Urban Development, Kenya, said housing is unaffordable and unavailable in most countries. Teresa Czerwińska, European Investment Bank, said the housing sector is becoming less accessible and suggested solidarity and inclusivity must be at the sector’s forefront. Panelists then discussed, inter alia: strategies to sustain and increase investments in adequate and affordable housing; leveraging technology to integrate the supply chain for better and cheaper delivery of housing options; and prerequisites for effective public-private partnerships (PPPs), such as a sound legal environment. Célestine Courtes, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Cameroon, presented innovative policies to close the housing gap in the country. Collen Vixen Kelapile, ECOSOC President, warned unaffordable housing fuels growth in slums. Mohd Sharif said UN-Habitat worked towards promoting the right to adequate housing.

Tackling Urban Health Challenges in A Changing World: The session began with a conversation about the multisectoral nature of health. Incompatible government policies between levels of government were provided as examples of barriers of good urban health. Speakers highlighted the need for a coordinated approach to city dweller health, given the diverse nature of health itself. Multiple panelists called for fundamental design principles for all current and future cities and disaggregated data on inequities to inform and monitor urban development. Some suggested greening of cities as a key aspect for better mental and physical health and an opportunity to foster deeper social and cultural connections. Moderator Graham Alabaster concluded we “need to take modifying our urban environments much more seriously for the sake of urban health.”

The City we Need Now!: Christine Auclair, World Urban Challenge, opened the special session on The City We Need Now (TCWNN) by inviting participants to share action areas required to achieve the ten goals of TCWNN campaign. Panelists highlighted the following needs:

  • Bringing women to the forefront of conversations;
  • Recognizing the unique needs and challenges of youth;
  • Building the capacity of municipalities to track data for decision making
  • Supporting community-led initiatives;
  • Ensuring vibrant economic activities and opportunities for all;
  • Implementing comprehensive and integrated planning and development;
  • Timely responses to urban resiliency challenges;
  • Emphasis on nature-based solutions to address climate change; and
  • Creating urban campuses to spark innovation.

These considerations will inform the future development of the campaign.

Climate Adaptation and Nature-Based Solutions for Resilient Cities: In the Special Session on Climate Adaptation and Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for Resilient Cities, participants stressed the difficulty of mobilizing direct financing for “blue-green” projects, especially in “non-bankable cities.” Political rivalries between local and national governments also present obstacles for NBS, and citizen pressure can break deadlocks.

Panelists urged “integrated thinking,” with multi-level decision-making that crosses sectors and issues. Other suggestions included: participatory governance; bringing finance ministers and mayors on board by emphasizing long-term economic benefits and protecting lives; simultaneously mobilizing project, nature, human, and social capital; and drawing on traditional knowledge about sustainable living in harmony with nature.

The panel also identified examples of solutions that could be rapidly scaled: repurposing a city’s heritage, renewing a focus on parks in urban planning; and building permeable surfaces and floating agriculture.

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WUF11: Highlights and images of main proceedings for 28 June 2022

Highlights and images of main proceedings for 28 June 2022

Published on 28 June 2022 by the International Institute for Sustainabl

e Development (IISD)

On day three, WUF participants zoomed in on equity and two of its main determinants – affordable housing and accessibility. In the morning Dialogue on Equitable Urban Futures, speakers warned that solutions to tackling the increasing inequalities in cities must be devised in partnership with those directly affected. The Dialogue on Building Resilience for Sustainable Urban Futures highlighted the urgency of resilient planning, citing COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine as examples for why it is never too early to be prepared for the next crisis.

In the afternoon, speakers in the Special Session on Delivering Affordable Housing Across Continents said solidarity and inclusivity must be at the forefront of the housing sector. Teresa Czerwińska, European Investment Bank, said “something evidently has gone wrong” with the housing sector becoming increasingly inaccessible. The Special Session on Tackling Urban Health Challenges discussed incompatible government policies between levels of government as a barrier of good urban health. In the Special Session on National Urban Forums (NUFs), participants shared both benefits and challenges to hosting NUFs, while also discussing aspirations for future forums. In a Special Session on Rebuilding from War and Natural Disasters, panelists emphasized the need for people-centered approaches that build back both the physical and social fabrics of cities. Appearing by video, the Mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine, emphasized that the city was “still alive” and planning for redevelopment.

Want to dive deeper on today's talks? Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

Ministerial Roundtable

Participants at the beginning of the Ministerial Roundtable

Equity and housing were also prominent issues in the roundtables of parliamentarians and ministers. Parliamentarians focused on discussing how they can support sustainable urbanization in the legislature with popular approaches, including developing framing legislation and building bridges between parties and governmental departments, and with stakeholders. Many noted that recent crises have pushed cities back on several fronts, but most severely by increasing poverty. Ministers presented their countries’ measures to implement the New Urban Agenda and achievements to date. Programmes to support affordable, sustainable, and inclusive housing are key pillars of such strategies and, according to some, the most challenging part of sustainable urbanization.

The Special Session on The City We Need Now! invited participants to address the ten different goals of the campaign and share specific, action-oriented suggestions towards accelerating change. The Persons with Disability Roundtable took stock of the progress made on rendering cities more accessible, with speakers calling for further use of universal designs, accessibility legislation and standards, and disaggregated data. Participants in a Special Session on Nature-based Solutions stressed the need to close finance gaps for “blue-green” projects, particularly in low-capacity urban areas that have difficulty accessing direct funding. The Older Persons Roundtable explored age-friendly cities and underlined the importance of accessible public spaces for the benefit of older people’s dignity, autonomy, and, ultimately, for the respect of their human rights.

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Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera